This research task will focus on investigating How The Effect Of Technology Has Disrupted The Spelling Of Learners Aged Between 14 And 18 Years. It is known that many learners whom are born in the 21st Century have been exposed to a lot of different forms of technology (iPads, cell phones, computers etc.) from a young age. This could take its toll on their spelling because they eventually become so dependent on using their cellular devices (autocorrect) to help them spell certain words, every day words to be precise. There is a perception that many people struggle to spell these words, especially at school during tests/exams, hence this the research task.
There are many articles and literature that gives insight to the effects that social media has on the spelling abilities of young people. Majority of the articles point to the negative effects that social media has on spelling.
Article 1: Alix. “Grammar in the Age of Social Media.” Association of American Educators (2012/03/06) Social media is growing on a daily basis, and people are starting to adapt to reduced “text-speak” because it is becoming a trend to use bad grammar and punctuation, all for the easiness and swiftness. A high school student admitted that he uses social media jargon when he is at school, this caused by using his cell phone frequently. Another student claimed that this “trend” is affecting almost everyone in their class as students are not used to spelling words out in full. There is not much research to prove that social media does have a negative effect on students.
Article 2: Press Association. “Chatrooms and social websites encourage bad spelling, says study.” The Guardian (2010/11/22) This article suggests that seeing that are many different kinds of chat rooms and social media platforms, each one supports the idea of children spelling words incorrectly. This article goes further on and states that the internet has “revolutionised” the English language, and now misspelling words has become normal. Children who have grown up exposed to the internet do not double check misspelt words, and therefore their English suffers. The Guardian conveyed a survey between 18 to 24 year olds, and research had found that majority of the participant’s believed that unusual spellings are used on social media for speed and convenience, hence why it has become normal.
Article 3: Sherman, Aliza. “How Social Media is affecting the Way We Speak and Write.” Gigaom (2010/04/28) The writer of this article states that he/she also is tempted to text abbreviations when writing formal English. Twitter has a character limit – 140 words, this enables people to be concise when typing a message, and the message would be meaningful because you are typing the essence of your initial message. The writer of this article also states that many people know text abbreviations very well, therefore if someone sends them a message using text abbreviations, they would know what the other person is saying within a spilt second.
Article 4: Beasley, Kim. “Social Media Effects on Student Writing can be Positive.” Yahoo! Social media has an effect on students writing, these effects can be positive or negative. Social media is encouraging misspelling of words, bad grammar as well as abbreviations and therefore students have adapted this habitat and it can be seen in their writing. Teachers should support the use of decent grammar and communication, even though acronyms are used, and if acronyms are used they should phrased in the correct manner. The negative effects of use of social media include: grammar and spelling errors, and writing too fast. Social media has allowed students to write fast, and hence why they continuously make grammar and spelling errors. Educators could use social media to help students to improve on their writing. They can do this by: providing lessons on sharing, posting or tweeting on social media, encouraging creativity as well as the thought process (students can find ideas on social media to enhance their writing) and lastly by using social media to express their thoughts. The article continues and states that students should learn to balance social media and school.
Article 5: Leeman, Jessica. “Effects of Social Media.” Word Express (2014/01/25) As different kinds of technology develops, we are becoming more addicted to our cell phones, laptops as well as tablets. Many people believe that social media is a platform for teenagers to use, this however is false. 71% of online adults used Facebook in 2013. Parents of the younger generation are concerned about their children’s spelling and grammar if they are exposed to high volumes of social media. Social media does not only have negative aspects but positives as well, if used in the correct manner, it also provides individuals with a different way of communicating. Some social media platforms limits users with character limit. For example, Twitter has a character limit of 140 words, this forces users to shorten their ideas into 140 words but this results in user’s overusing “text speak” and slang.
Article 6: Poser, Michael and Raichle, Marcus. “The neuroimaging of human brain function.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.”(1998/02/03) It has been said that it is not very important to know where most of our information is stored for our cognitive theory but this is not true because knowing where could tell us important what possible correlations there are amongst the various tasks we perform on a daily basis. There is an extensive correlation amid the cerebral activity which includes phonological coding in reading words and withholding oral information in our functioning retention. This article proves that when something is said to us, our brain is able to process that information and in essence this makes it easier for us to write and spell words, even though there are words which are unfamiliar to us.
Majority of these articles suggest that social media does have a negative effect on spelling as teenagers spend a great deal of hours on social media and therefore have adapted poor habits including the lack of proper spelling. Our brains function in such a way that is possible for human beings to spell words that we have just heard for the first, or if we have forgotten the spelling of a certain word our brain can try to recall the initial spelling.
As a part of the primary research, various spelling tests for different age groups will be conducted. Each test for each age group will have a different level of difficulty. For example the spelling test for 14 year olds will much easier in comparison to the spelling test for 18 year olds. The words used for each grade/ age group were selected at random, no specific words were used. The words that were used were web-based spelling lists. On each spelling test, the definition for each word will be provided to ensure that there is no confusion between words. The word would be called out and learners would then have to write down the spelling of the word in the space given. 10 learners from each age group/grade will be tested.
To avoid ethical issues such as cheating, each learner will sit apart from each other and they will be asked to leave their cell phones in the front of the classroom. The spelling test will be anonymous, the only factor which will not be known are their ages. Each spelling test will be different for each age group but the level of difficulty for each age group will be different and as the age increases, so does the level of difficulty. These learners will be asked to use their cellular devices for 5 minutes before the spelling test will be conducted. The dependent variable in this experiment is the amount of learners that have taken the test. The independent variable in this experiment is the results taken from the spelling test.
Names and other biographical details remain anonymous as it is not relevant or applicable to the research data. The outcome and results of each spelling test will be the data used to conclude on the research question. Only the age group of the population will be disclosed to display the different levels of difficulty between grades/ age groups.
The results are represented in graph format where each individual part of the relevant age group population is displayed as a percentage of both spelling tests written. The analysis of each age group is also included as part of the graph presentation in order to conclude on the overall spelling results of the age group.
Spelling test one and two – age group 14 years old (grade 8)
This graph shows that majority of the learners who took the spelling tests performed much better in the second test as opposed to the first test. Each test was out of 25, 50 in total. The average for the two tests combined is 28.4 ≈ 28. The average for the first test is 10.5 and the average for the second test is 17.9 ≈ 18. The averages indicate that students performed well in the second test and this might be due to the fact that they knew what was expected of them in the second half the experiment. Commonly misspelled words in both tests are decaffeinate, algorithm, gnash, and haemorrhage.
Spelling test one and two – age group 15 years old (grade 9)
These test results fluctuates. Many students perform well in both tests whereas some perform well in the first and do poorly in the second or some perform well in the second test and do poorly in the first. Each test was out of 25, 50 in total. The average for the two tests combined is 30. The average for the first test is 14.5 and the average for the second test is 15.5. The averages indicate that. Commonly misspelled words in both tests are perjury, mesmerise, benevolent, endeavour, prosperous. The averages indicate that the second test was slightly more successful than the first test, this may be due to less nervousness and maybe fewer distractions around them.
Spelling test one and two – age group 16 years old (grade 10)
Many students did well in the second test, but also there were students that did better in the second test and did not do well in the first. There were students that did very well in the first test and not so well in the second. Each test was out of 25, 50 in total. The average for the two tests combined is 24.9 ≈ 25. The average for the first test is 12 and the average for the second test is 12.9 ≈ 13. The averages indicate that students performed well in the second test and this might be due to the fact that they knew what was expected of them in the second half the experiment. Commonly misspelled words in both tests are knell, knoll, pseudonym, satellite. The averages for both tests shows that students were better prepared and students knew what to expect in the second as they were not as unsure of what was expected of them as in the first test.
Spelling test one and two – age group 17 years old (grade 11)
Learners did well in the first test as opposed to the second, although there were a few learners who did well in both and there were some who did well in the second test and not the first. Each test was out of 25, 50 in total. The average for the two tests combined is 24. The average for the first test is 13.4 and the average for the second test is 10.6. Commonly misspelled words in both tests are perjury, mozzarella, quarantine, pinnacle, surrey, straitjacket, blasphemous, tambourine. Learners did not do as well in the second test compared to the first test, this may be due to learners not knowing the spelling of many of the selected words therefore they do not have a very strong vocabulary.
Spelling test one and two – age group 18 years old (grade 12)
The results from these tests, fluctuates. Learners do better in the second test as opposed to the first. Each test was out of 25, 50 in total. The average for the two tests combined is 28. The average for the first test is 11.6 and the average for the second test is 16.4. The averages indicate that. Commonly misspelled words in both tests are dachshund, juxtaposition, kaleidoscope, sauerkraut, vermicelli, consciousness, chauffer, tetanus. The averages indicates that students performed better in the second test as opposed to the first. This may be due the fact that some were unfamiliar of the words that was asked in the first test or they were very unsure of the entire process in general.
Overall Analysis and Interpretation of Findings
After analysing all the results it can be said that technology does have an effect on the learners spelling. All of the results from these graphs indicate that the students who have conducted these spelling tests tend to do better in the second test, this could be because they have a general understanding of what is expected of them and are familiar with some the terms asked.
There are many reasons as to why students did not do well in the first test, this includes being very unsure of what was expected of them. They might have been nervous and very unsure of the spelling of many of the words as well as other influential factors, such as physical factors and personal reasons. However these factors were not taken into account when the analysis of each test was done. What was also picked up was common mistakes amongst various words. Such as the word ‘Lieutenant’ was a word that was commonly misspelled by the learners as it was a word included in one of the tests. The averages across each grade proved that students performed better in the second due to various reasons, such as knowing what was expected in the second half of the experiment, less distractions around them.
Common words misspelled:
The overall results has proved that the hypothesis is correct, therefore technology has slowly affected our ability to spell without the use of our cellular devices.
Using technology is detrimental to our ability to absorb knowledge without using any form of technology. The limitations that I experienced while conducting this One Research Task (ORT) was finding relevant information about topic, not many people have picked up on how technology has affected our spelling. Another limitation would also be gathering enough people to take the tests, many were reluctant to because many learners know that their spelling abilities are not where they should be, and others did not want to it because they were not interested.
The recommendations I would suggest are to parents firstly, they should monitor the amount of time their children spend using their cellular devices. Parents should encourage their children to read more often because that boosts your vocabulary and therefore would increase your ability to spell words correctly. I would also suggest that schools also monitor the amount of technology they expose their students to. And lastly I would like to suggest to students to not rely on their cellular devices as much they do because it is detrimental to ourselves.
In the beginning of conducting this task, a topic was chosen. At first this topic seemed interesting until it had reached the Literature Review stage and finding articles on this topic was rather difficult. A topic like this is not easy because your primary research is very broad and eventually I had wished that I chose a different topic but it was too late to make any changes, I was already halfway done with this task, therefore I stuck with this topic.
What I have learnt during this process is that no matter how difficult things may be now, it will always get easier. I also learnt that teachers do not have an easy job. Marking a lot of tests is not as easy as it seems.
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